By Fareed Zakaria
The self-styled “prince” of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb came “close to throwing away a glittering prize” in Mali, argues David Blair in The Telegraph.
“Perhaps Wadoud will now embroil the French in endless guerrilla warfare, resorting to suicide attacks and roadside bombs. But until last month, his only enemy in his new kingdom was Mali’s ragtag army, with fewer than 8,000 under-trained and poorly equipped soldiers. Now, at a minimum, AQIM has made itself the target of a French expeditionary force backed by advanced airpower.”
There could be unintended consequences if the U.S. becomes energy independent, including an increased risk of instability in the Middle East, suggests Meghan O’Sullivan.
“Unanticipated boosts in U.S. oil production, in combination with increasing supplies from other sources such as Iraq, could also contribute to the woes of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. As with Russia, most OPEC members need prices to stay above $85 a barrel to make their budgets – many now swollen with post-Arab Spring spending and wage inducements – meet.”
Raising the minimum wage isn’t just good politics, it’s good economics, writes David Gross in the Daily Beast.
“Lower-income workers tend to spend almost everything they make, so more wages would very quickly translate into higher spending at a lot of businesses. That’s one of the reasons Wal-Mart supported an increase in the minimum wage in 2009.”
And, is coercive paternalism justified? And should this mean that smoking should be banned? Cass Sunstein looks at the arguments posed by Sarah Conly in Against Autonomy.
“Conly’s most controversial claim is that because the health risks of smoking are so serious, the government should ban it. She is aware that many people like to smoke, that a ban could create black markets, and that both of these points count against a ban. But she concludes that education, warnings, and other nudges are insufficiently effective, and that a flat prohibition is likely to be justified by careful consideration of both benefits and costs, including the costs to the public of treating lung cancer and other consequences of smoking.”